Saturday, January 30, 2010

Zestz JAZZ

Unique Rachel Guerzo


Tuesday, 27 April 2010 at 9.00 p.m.

Click here to purchase your tickets, NOW!

Rachel Guerzo talks to TASHNY SUKUMARAN of The New Sunday Times Magazine, about her long-awaited debut album

FAMILIES are the darndest things — a support system, a refuge — and also a source of pressure. The Kennedys, for example. Rachel Guerzo is a shining example of this. A Guerzo on her father’s side and a Soliano on her mother’s (two of Malaysia’s most musical families), there was never really any question as to what she’d become. Music is her birthright.

Gifted with a charming, bubbly personality and silky, soulful voice, Rachel is the epitome of a diva — without the temper tantrums.

Was her family her inspiration? “It’s more like a curse!” she says with a laugh. “No la, I’m just kidding. It’s a lot of pressure coming from a musical family, but I wasn’t pushed to do music,” she says at her debut album launch at No Black Tie in Kuala Lumpur recently.

And if you weren’t doing this? “Selling strollers. I tried la. I have to tell you, I tried. But the pull of going and stage and singing... it was too strong.

“I just like playing and singing, it doesn’t matter where. It’s the music that drives me, every time,” reveals this fresh-faced thirty-something KL girl. Her advice for aspiring jazz musicians? “Don’t give up hope!”

Her album, Just Friends, is a classy-looking package with six jazzy tracks written by renowned artistes and originals from Malaysia’s own jazz legend, Alfonso Soliano (Rachel’s grandfather).

Rachel’s voice, reminiscent of female jazz icons of yesteryears, shines in each and every song, husky with beautiful control over the notes.

Particularly moving tracks are her cover of Irving Berlin’s They Say It’s Wonderful and Gadis Idamanku by Alfonso Solianos — the former is like liquid velvet, while the latter is both nostalgic and haunting.

“I would definitely consider my grandfather part of the inspiration for this album. He was ahead of his time.”

Alfonso Soliano was founder, arranger and composer of Orkes Radio Malaysia (which would become Orkestra RTM).

Rachel is also excited about her debut at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas in April 2010. The music will be based around her album.

A stylistic mix of Diana Krall’s fluidity and Shirley Horn’s versatility — as well as an unnamable quality that’s all her own, it’s easy to see why Rachel’s voice has seized the hearts, and ears, of many Malaysians. I know I’m a fan.

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